Lil’ Wayne Vs. Jay-Z: Is the Beef About Wealth?

Last week, the Internet was abuzz with the news of Lil’ Wayne  dissing Jay-Z on his just released LP Tha Carter IV. The album, which was supposed to make its digital debut on the iTunes store after Sunday’s VMA award show, had already leaked and made its rounds on the Web days before. Since the leak much of conversation regarding Carter IV has been about a scathing verse from Wayne on the song “It’s Good” in which he raps:

“Talkin’ bout baby money, I got ya baby money
Kidnap yo b–ch, get that ‘how much you love yo lady?’ money
I know you fake n–ga, press yo breaks n–ga”

Though Jay-Z’s name isn’t said rap fans using context clues gleaned that these shots were meant for Hov with added disrespect for his wife Bey0nce.  In light of recent news of her pregnancy Wayne’s rhymes seem to be in especially bad taste. When VIBE asked Wayne to explain the barbs he was neither remorseful nor fearful of reprisal.

But where does this all come from? What’s this “beef” based on? Well, it’ll seem kind of silly but it’s all rooted in a a dispute over who is more wealthy: Jay-Z or Lil’ Wayne and his surrogate father/Cash Money label owner, Bryan” Baby” Williams.

The back and forth started in 2009 when Baby gave his opinion that Lil’ Wayne was more lyrical than Jay-Z and claimed that he had more money than him. In a hip-hop world where the boys in the big league brag about their net worth more than they do their skills an affront of this nature had to be addressed and  Shawn Carter did just that in a radio interview. Jay dismissed Baby’s comment about lyricism as subjective opinion but when it came to finances Jay challenged Baby and company to “put their money up.”  Subsequently Forbes released their 2010 Hip-Hop Cash Kings list of rap’s top earners and for the second year in a row Jay-Z topped the list making $63 million in the 12 month period Forbes surveyed while Lil Wayne came in at number four with $20 million. Adding a little insult to injury Jay-Z took a what could be perceived as a shot at Baby on the song “H.A.M” with Kanye West:

“Really, you got baby money. Keep it real with n–gas, n–gas ain’t got my lady money”

And now after months of Twitter taunts from an apparently offended Baby we get Wayne’s official opening salvo in a war between millionaires is a play on that very line.

How will all of this affect Lil Wayne’s album sales and ultimately his bottom-line? Erika Ramirez, editor of’s hip-hop and R&B section The Juice, believes that the controversy can only be good for Wayne, “I definitely don’t think this will affect Weezy’s ‘Tha Carter IV’ roll out, she says. “If anything it only makes me want to listen to the album more and a bit more carefully to see if there are more jabs at Jay-Z, or others, hidden within.” Hype around hip-hop releases has historically benefited from beef between artists and this case seems to be no different.

But is it obnoxious for multi-millionaires to publicly argue about how much money they have while most of their fans deals with a dismal job market and a shaky economy? Tell us what you think about this beef in a comment below.